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THE ALCHEMIST'S DAUGHTER.
GIACOMA, the Alchemist, BERNARDO, his son-in-lau',
Rosalia, his daughter, and Bernardo's wife,
LORENZO, his servant.
The interior of Giacomo's house. Giacomo and Lorenzo discovered together. Time, a little before daybreak.
Gia, Art sure of this?
Ay, signor, very sure.
'T is but a moment since I saw the thing-
Bernardo, who last night was sworn thy son,
Hath made a villainous barter of thine honor.
Thou may'st rely the duke is where I said.
Gia. If so—no matter-give me here the light.
Lor. (Alone.) Oh, what a night! It inust be all a dream!
For twenty years, since that I wore a beard,
I've served my melancholy master here,
And never until now saw such a night!
A wedding in this silent house, forsooth,—
A festival! The very walls in mute
Amazement stared through the unnatural light!
And poor Rosalia, bless her tender heart,
Looked like her mother's sainted ghost! Ah me,
Her mother died long years ago, and took
One half the blessed sunshine from our house-
The other half was married off last night.
My master, solemn soul, he walked the halls
As if in search of something which was lost ;
The groom, I liked not him, nor ever did,
Spoke such perpetual sweetness, till I thought
He wore some sugared villany within :-
But then he is my master's ancient friend,
And always known the favorite of the duke,
And, as I know, our lady's treacherous lord!
Oh, Holy Mother, that lo villain hawks
Our dove should fall a prey! poor gentle dear!
Now if I had their throats within my grasp
No matter- if my master be himself,
Nor time nor place shall bind up his revenge.
He's not a man to spend his wrath in noise,
But when his mind is made, with even pace
He walks up to the deed and does his will.
In fancy I can see him to the end-
The duke, perchance, already breathes his last,
And for Bernardo-he will join him soon;
And for Rosalia, she will take the veil,
To which she hath been heretofore inclined;
And for my master, he will take again
To alchemy-a pastime well enough,
For aught I know, and honest Christian work.
Still it was strange how my poor mistress died,
Found, as she was, within her husband's study.
The rumor went she died of suffocation ;
Some cursed crucible which had been left,
By Giacomo, aburning, filled the room,
And when the lady entered took her breath.
He found her there, and since that day the place
Has been a home for darkness and for dusi.
I hear him coming; by his hurried step
There's something done, or will be very soon. (Enter Giacomo. He sets the light upon the table and com
fronts Lorenzo with a stern look.)
Gia. Lorenzo, thou hast served me twenty years,
And faithfully ; now answer me, how was 't
That thou wert in the street at such an hour ?
Lor. When that the festival was o'er last nighi,
I went to join some comrades in their wine
To pass the time in memory of the event.
Gia. And doubtless thou wert blinded soon with drink
Lor. Indeed, good signor, though the wine flowed free
I could not touch it, though much urged by all-
Too great a sadness sat upon my heart-
I could do naught but sit and sigh and think
Or our Rosalia in her bridal dress.
Gia. And sober too! so much the more at fault.
But, as I said, thou 'st served me long and well,
Perchance too long--100 long by just a day.
Here, take this purse, and find another master,
Lor. Oh, signor, do not drive me thus away!
If I have made mistake-
No, sirrah, no!
Thou hast not made mistake, but something worse.
Lor. Oh, pray you, what is that then I have made ?
Gia. A lie !
Lor. Indeed, good master, on my knees
I swear that what I said is sainted truth.
Gia. Pshaw, pshaw, no more of this. Did I not go
Upon the instant 10 my daughter's room
And find Bernardo sleeping at her side ?
Some villain's gold hath bribed thee unto this.
Lor. Well, if it must be, then it must.
But I would swear that what I said is truth,
Though all the devils from the deepest pit
Should rise to contradict me!
Prating still ?
Lor. No, signor--I am going-stay-see here-
(He draws a paper from his bosom.)
Oh, blessed Virgin, grant some proof in this !
This paper as they changed their mantles dropt
Between them to the ground, and when they passed
I picked it up and placed it safely here.
Gia. (E.ramining it.)
Who forged the lie could fabricate this 100:-
But hold, it is ingeniously done.
Get to thy duties, sir, and mark me well,
Let no word pass thy lips about the matter-
Bernardo's very hand indeed is here!
Oh, compact villainous and black! conditions,
The means, the hour, the signal-every thing
To rob my honor of its holiest pearl !
Lorenzo, shallow fool-he does not guess
The mischief was all done, and that it was
The duke he saw departing-oh, brain-brain !
How shall I hold this river of my wrath !
It must not burst-no, rather it shall sweep
A noiseless maelstrom, whirling to its center
All thoughts and plans to further my revenge
And rid me of this most accursed blot! (He rests his forehead on his hand a few minutes, and ec
The past returns to me again, the lore
I gladly had forgot comes like a ghost,
And points with shadowy finger to the means
Which best shall consummate my just design.
The laboratory hath been closed too long;
The door smiles welcome to me once again,
The dusky latch invites my hand—I come!
(He unlocks the door and stands upon the threshold.)
Oh, thou whose life was stolen from me here,
Stand not to thwart me in this great revenge;
But rather come with large propitious eyes
Siniling encouragement with ancient looks!
Ye sages whose pale, melancholy orbs
Gaze through the darkness of a thousand years,
Oh, pierce the solid blackness of to-day,
And fire anew this crucible of thought
Until my soul flames up to the result !
(He enters and the door closes.) SCENE II. Another apartment in the alchemist's house.
Enler Rosalia and Bernardo.
Ros. You tell me he has not been seen to-day?
Ber. Save by your trusty servant here, who says
Ile saw his master, from without, unclose
The shutters of his laboratory while
The sun was yet unrisen. It is well;
This turning to the past pursuits of youth
Argues how much the aspect of to-day
Hath driven the ancient darkness from his brain,
And now, my dear Rosalia, let thy face
And thoughts and speech be drest in summer smiles,
And naught shall make a winter in our house.
Ros. Ah, sir, I think that I am happy.
Why so, indeed, dear love, I trust thou art!
But thou dost sigh and contemplate the floor
So deeply, that thy happiness seems rather
The constant sense of duty than true joy.
Ros. Nay, chide me not, good sir; the world to me A riddle is at best-my heart has had No tutor. From my childhood until now My thoughts have been on simple honest things.
Ber. On honest things? Then let them dwell henceOn love, for nothing is more honest than [forth True love.
Ros. I hope so, sir-it must be so !
And if to wear thy happiness at heart
With constant watchfulness, and if to breathe
Thy welfare in my orisons, be love,
'Thou never shalt have cause to question mine.
To-day I feel, and yet I know not why,
A sadness which I never knew before;
A puzzling shadow swims upon my brain,
Of something which has been or is to be.
My mother coming 10 me in my dream,
My father taking to that room again
Have somehow thrilled me with mysterious awe.
Ber. Nay, let not that o'ercast thy gentle mind,
For dreams are but as floating gossamer,
And should not blind or bar the steady reason.
And alchemy is innocent enough,
Save when it feeds 100 steadily on gold,
A crime the world not easily forgives.
But if Rosalia likes not the pursuit
Her sire engages in, my plan shall be
To lead him quietly to other things.
see, the door uncloses and he comes.
(Enter Giacomo in loose gown and dishevelled hair.)
Gia. (Not perceiving them.)
Ha, precious villains, ye are caught at last !
Both. Good-morrow, father.
Ah, my pretty doves!
Ber. Come, father, we are jealous of the art
Which hath deprived us all the day of thee.
Gia. Are ye indeed ? (Aside.) How smoothly to the air Slides that word father from his slippery tongue. Come hither, daughter, let me gaze on thee, For I have dreamed that thou wert beautiful, So beautiful our very duke did stop To smile upon thy brightness! What say'st thou, Bernardo, didst thou ever dream such things ?
ber. That she is beautiful I had no cause to dream, Mine eyes have known the fact for many a day. What villains didst thou speak of even now?
Gia. Two precious villains--Carbon and Azote-
They have perplexed me heretofore; but now
The thing is plain enough. This morning, ere
I left my chamber, all the mystery stood
Asudden in an awful revelation!
Ber. I'm glad success has crowned thy task 10-day,
But do not overloil thy brain. These themes
Are dangerous things, and they who mastered most
Have fallen at last but victims to their slaves.
Gia. It is a glorious thing to fall and die
The victim of a noble cause.
The man who battles for his country's right
Ilath compensation in the world's applause.
The victor when returning from the field
Is crowned with laurel, and his shining way
Is full of shouts and roses. If he fall,
His nation builds his monument of glory.
But mark the alchemist who walks the streets,
His look is down, his step infirm, his hair
And cheeks are burned to ashes by his thought;
The volumes he consumes, consume in turn;
They are but fuel to his fiery brain,
Which being fed requires the more to feed on.
The people gaze on him with curious looks,
And step aside to let him pass untouched,
Believing Satan hath him arm in arın.
Gia. Are there no wrongs but what a nation feels ?
No heroes but among the martial throng?
Nay, there are patriot souls who never grasped
A sword, or heard the crowd applaud their names,
Who lived and labored, died and were forgot,
And after whom the world came out and reapt
The field, and never questioned who had sown.
Ber. I did not think of that.
Now mark ye well,
I am not one to follow phantom themes,
To waste my time in seeking for the stone,
Or chrystalizing carbon to o’erflood
The world with riches which would keep it poor;
Nor do I seek the elixir that would make
Not life alone, but misery immortal;
But something far more glorious than these.
Ber. Pray what is that?
A cure, sir, for the heart-ache.
Come, thou shalt see. The day is on the wane-
Mark how the moon, as by some unseen arm,
Is thrusted upward, like a bloody shield !
On such an hour the experiment must begin.
Come, thou shalt be the first to witness this
Most marvelous discovery. And thou,
My pretty one, betake thee to thy bower,
And I will dream thou 'rt lovelier than ever.
Come, follow me. (To Bernardo.)
Nay, father, stay; I'm sure
Thou art not well-thine eyes are strangely lit,
The task, I fear, has overworked thy brain.
Gia. Dearest Rosalia, what were eyes or brain
Compared with banishment of sorrow? Come.
Ber. (Aside to Rosalia.)
I will indulge awhile this curious humor;
Adieu; I shall be with thee soon again.
Gia. (Orerhearing him.)
When Satan shall regain his wings, and sit
Approved in heaven, perchance, but not till then.
Ber. What, not till then ?
Shall he be worthy deemed
To walk, as thou hast said the people thought,
Arm in arm with the high-souled philosopher :-
And yet the people sometimes are quite right,
The devil's at our elbow oftener than
(He gives Bernardo his arm, and they enter the laboratory.)
Ros. (Alone.) He never looked so strange before;
His cheeks, asudden, are grown pale and thin ;
His very hair seems whiter than it did.
Oh, surely, 't is a fearful trade that crowds
The work of years into a single day.
It may be that the sadness which I wear
Hath clothed him in its own peculiar hue.
The very sunshine of this cloudless day
Seemed but a world of broad, white desolation-
While in my ears small melancholy bells
Knolled their long, solemn and prophetic chime;-
But hark! a louder and a holier soll,
Shedding its benediction on the air,
Proclaims the vesper hour-
Which Helen gave the guests of Menelaus.
But come, thou ’lt weary of this thickening air,
Let us depart.
Not for the wealth of worlds!
Gia. Nay, but thy bride awaits thee-
Go to her
And say I shall be there anon.
I will. (Aside.) Now while he stands enchained within the spei I'll to Rosalia's room and don his cloak And cap, and sally forth to meet the duke. 'T is now the hour, and if he come-so be it.
[Erit Giacomo. Ber. (Alone.) These delicate airs seem warted from the fields Of some celestial world. I am alone Then wherefore not inhale that deeper draught, That sweet nepenthe which these other two, When burning, shall dispense? 'T were quickly done, And I will do it! (He places the two crucibles on the furnace.)
Now, sir alchemist,
Linger as long as it may suit thy pleasure-
'Tis mine to larry here. Oh, by San John,
I'll turn philosopher myselí, and do
Some good at last in this benighted world!
Now bow like demons on the ascending smoke,
Making grimaces, leaps the laughing flame,
Filling the room with a mysterious haze,
Which rolls and writhes along the shadowy air,
Taking a thousand strange, fantastic forms;
And every form is lit with burning eyes,
Which pierce me through and through like fiery arrow!
The dim walls grow unsteady, and I seem
To stand upon a reeling deck! Hold, hold !
A hundred crags are toppling over head.
I faint, I sink-now, let me cluich that limb-
Oh, devil! It breaks to ashes in my grasp !
What ghost is that which beckons through the mist?
The duke! the duke! and bleeding at the breast!
Whose dagger struck the blow? (Enter Giacomo.)
Mine, villain, mine!
What! thou 'st set the other two aburning ?
Impatient dog, thou cheat'st me to the last !
I should have done the deed--and yet ’t is well.
Thou diest by thine own dull hardihood !
Ber. Ha! is it so ? Then follow thou!
Is not quite yet, this antidote shall place
A bar between us for a little while.
(He raises a vial to his lips, drinks, and flings it aside.
Ber. (Rallying.) Come, give it me-
Ha, ha! I drained it all!
There is the broken vial.
Is there no arm
To save me from the abyss ?
No, villain, sink!
And take this cursed record of thy plot,
(He thrusts a paper into Bernardo's hand,) And it shall gain thee speedy entrance at Th’infernal gate!
(Bernardo reads, reels and falls.)
Gia. (Looking on the body.) Poor miserable dust!
This body now is honest as the best,
The very best of earth, lie where it may.
This mantle must conceal the thing from sighi,
For soon Rosalía, as I bade her, shall
Be here. Oh, Heaven! vouchsafe to me the power
To do this last stem act of justice. Thou
Who called the child of Jairus from the dead,
SCENE III. Giacomo and Bernardo discovered in the labo
Gia. What say'st thou now,
Let me live
Or die in drawing this delicious breath,
I ask no more.
Gia. (Aside.) Mark, how with wondering eyes
He gazes on the burning crucibles,
As if to drink the rising vapor with
His every sense.
Ber. Is this the balm thou spak'st of?
Gia, Ay, sir, the same.
Oh, would that now my heart
Were torn with every grief the earth has known,
Then would this sense be sweeter by tenfold !
Where didst thou learn the secret, and from whom?
Gia. From Gebber down to Paracelsus, none
Have mentioned the discovery of this-
The need of it was parent of the thought.
Ber. How long will these small crucibles hold out ?
Gia. A little while, but there are two beside, That when thy sense is toned up to the point May then be fired ; and when thou breathest their fumes, Nepenthe deeper it shall seem than that
Assist a stricken father now to raise
His sinless daughter from the bier of shame.
And may her soul, unconscious of the deed,
Forever walk the azure fields of heaven. (Enter Rosalia, dressed in simple white, bearing a small
golden crucifix in her hand.)
Ros. Dear father, in obedience, I have come
But where 's Bernardo?
Gone to watch the stars;
To see old solitary Saturn whirl
Like poor Ixion on his burning wheel-
He is our patron orb to-night, my child.
Ros. I do not know what strange experiment
Thou ’dst have me see, but in my heart I feel
That He, in whose remembrance this was made
(looking at the cross)
Should be chief patron of our thoughts and acts.
Since vesper time-I know not how it was-
I could do naught but kneel and tell my prayers.
Gia. Ye blessed angels, hymn the word to heaven.
Come, daughter, let me hold thy hand in mine,
And gaze upon the emblem which thou bearest. (He looks upon the crucifix awhile and presses it to his lips.)
Ros. Pray tell me, father, what is in the air ?
Gia. See'st thou the crucibles, my child ? Now mark, I'll drop a simple essence into each.
Ros. My sense is flooded with perfumne!
Ros. My soul, asudden, thrills with such delight
It seems as it had won a birth of wings!
Gia. Behold, now when I throw these jewels in,
The glories of our art !
A cloud of hues
As beautiful as morning fills the air ;
And every breath I draw comes freighted with
Elysian sweets! An iris-tinted mist,
In perfumed wreaths, is rolling round the room.
The very walls are melting from my sight,
And surely, father, there's the sky o’erhead !
And on that gentle breeze did we not hear
The song of birds and silvery waterfalls ?
And walk we not on green and flowery ground ?
Ferrara, father, hath no ground like this,
The ducal gardens are not half so fair !
Oh, if this be the golden land of dreams,
Let us forever make our dwelling here.
Not lovelier in my earliest visions seemed
The paradise of our first parents, filled
With countless angels whose celestial light
Thrilled the sweet foliage like a gush of song.
Look how the long and level landscape gleams,
And with a gradual pace goes mellowing up
Into the blue. The very ground we tread
Seems flooded with the tender hue of heaven;
An azure lawn is all about our feet,
And sprinkled with a thousand gleaming flowers,
Like lovely lilies on a tranquil lake.
Gia. Nay, dear Rosalia, cast thy angel ken
Far down the shining pathway we have trod,
And see behind us those enormous gates
To which the world has given the name of Death ;
And note the least among yon knot of lights,
And recognize your native orb, the earth!
For we are spirits threading fields of space,
Whose gleaming flowers are but the countess stars !
dear love, adieu-a flash from heaven-
A sudden glory in the silent air-
A rustle as of wings, proclaim the approach
Of holier guides 10 take thee into keep.
Behold them gliding down the azure hill
Making the blue ambrosial with their light
Our paths are here divided. I must go
Through other ways, by other forms attended
BY ELIZABETH LYON LINSLEY.
The rippling of the wave beneath Showed dancing there that one bright star!
I WANDERED on the lonely strand,
A setting sun shone brightly there,
And bathed in glory sea and land,
And streamed in beauty through the air!
A playful breeze the waters curled,
Touched their light waves and passed them by,
Then fanned a bird whose wings unfurled Were waving on the sunset sky!
The bird had gone. The sun had set. His beams still tipped the hills and trees,
And flung a rainbow radiance yet On clouds reflected in the seas !
A distant boatman plied the oar, All sparkling with its golden spray,
His voice came softened to the shore, Then melted with the dying day!
And when the last bright lines on high Departed as the twilight came,
A large star showed its lone, sweet eye All margined with a cloud of flame!
So fair a scene, so sweet an hour, Were felt and passed. In stilly calm
They shed around me beauty's power,
Yet gave no peace, and brought no balm.
I was alone! I saw no eyes
With mine gaze on the twilight sea-
No heart returned my lonely sighs-
No lips breathed sympathy with me.
I was alone! I looked above. That star seemed happy thus to lave
Its fairy light and glance of love Deep in the bosom of the wave.
I gazed no more! The blinding tear Rose from my heart, and dirmed my sight.
Had one dear voice then whispered near,
That scene how changed !—That heart how light!
My soul was swelling like the sea!
Had thine eyes gleamed there with mine own,
That soul a mirror true to thee
On ev'ry wave thyself had shown!
The winds were hushed. Their latest breath In soft, low murmurs died afar--
MRS. PELBY SMITH'S SELECT PARTY.
" Mrs. GOLDSBOROUGH's party is to-night, is it to live in any other than a plain, quiet way. The not?” said Mr. Pelby Smith to his wife; " are we cost of a party would be a serious inconvenience to going my dear?”
Apropos of parties," returned she, waiving the " The advantages will be of greater consequence question; "I don't see how we are to get on any than the sacrifices," returned the lady, suliening as longer without giving one ourselves.”
she saw her husband yielding;. “the loss will soon Why so, my dear? We cannot afford to give be made up to you through an increase of friends. a party, and that will be an apology all-sufficient to Party-giving people are always popular." a woman of Cousin Sabina's sense.''
Mr. Smith saw that his wife was determined to “ Cousin Sabina !” exclaimed Mrs. Smith; "as if carry her point, which was nothing new. He had I, or any one else, ever thought of going to the learned to submit, and to submit in silence, so, after trouble of a party for a plain old maid, like cousin sitting moodily for a few minutes, he took up his hat Sabina Incledon!"
to go to his place of business. "My dear, I wish you would not speak in that way “I knew, my dear,” said Mrs. Smith smoothly, of Cousin Sabina; she is an excellent woman, of that you would soon see the matter in a proper superior mind, and manners to command respect in light; and now about Mrs. Goldsborough's party. I any society."
shall lay out your things for you. I can go with ** That may be your opinion, Mr. Smith," answered some satisfaction now that I have a prospect of soon the lady tartly; "mine is that a quiet old maid, from being on equal terms with my entertainers.” somewhere far off in the country, and with an in- Mrs. Smith walked round her two small and by no come of two or three hundred dollars a year, would means elegant rooms, reassuring herself as to the not make much of a figure in our society. At all capabilities of her lamps, girandoles and candlesticks, events, I sha n't make a trial of it.”
for she had mentally gone through all her arrange" I thought you alluded to her visit as making it ments long before; the act of consulting her husband incumbent on us to give a party,” said Mr. Smith being, generally, her last step toward the undermeekly; "there is no other reason, I believe.” taking of any important project. She was joined bş
You will allow me to have some judgment in the object of some of her recent remarks, Miss Sasuch matters, Ir. Smith. I think it is absolutely ne- bina Incledon, a cousin of Mr. Smith's, who, unti cessary that we should, that is, if we wish to go to within a few days, had been a stranger to her. She parties for the future. We have been going to them was a plainly dressed person of middle age, with an all our lives without giving any, and people will agreeable though not striking countenance, and ungrow tired of inviting us.”
obtrusive, lady-like manners. " Then, my dear, why not make up our minds to “I am sorry you are not going to Mrs. Goldsbostay at home. I would rather."
rough's to-night, Cousin Sabina," said Mrs. Smith; “But I would not, Mr. Smith. I shall go to par
"I have no doubt she would have sent an invitation ties as long as possible. My duty to my children re- had she known I had a friend visiting me." quires it.”
"Not improbable. I do not, however, feel much Mr. Smith opened his eyes as wide as his timidity inclination just now to go to a party. Had it not would let him.
been for that, should have sent my card to Mrs · My duty to my children, I repeat,” pursued she Goldsborough after my arrival. I met her at the with energy; "they will have to be introduced to springs last summer, and received much politeness society."
from her." “Not for seven or eight years yet, any of them," "Mrs. Goldsborough is a very polite woman-very interposed Mr. Smith.
much disposed to be civil to every one," said Mrs. “ Sooner or later,” continued the lady; " and how Smith;“ by the bye,” she added, “ Pelby and I have is that to be done unless I keep the footing which I it in contemplation to give a large party ourselves." have attained-with trouble enough, as I only know, “ Indeed? I thought you were not party-giving and without any thanks to you, Mr. Smith. If I give people; Cousin Pelby assured me so.” up parties, I may fall at once into the obscurity for " And never would be if Pelby Smith had his own which you have such a taste. People of fortune and way. To be sure, we are not in circumstances to distinction can voluntarily withdraw for a while, entertain much, conveniently, but for the sake of a and then reappear with as much success as ever, but firmer place in society, I am always willing to strain that is not the case with persons of our position.” a point. As to Pelby, he has so little spirit that he
" It is only the expense that I object 10, my dear; would as soon be at the bottom of the social ladder my business is so limited that it is impossible for us as at the top. I can speak of it without impropriety